It sounded like stunning weather across the whole country for trail running this weekend- whether you were climbing 8000m vert on North Head, running the last ever Wild Turkey or the first ever Bush to Beach. It even sounded like a great day at the Wellington Xterra, and Saturday morning in the Nelson Lakes National Park was no exception for the 17th Loop the Lake trail race put on by Nelson Events. It was a stunning morning as runners headed off, with Graeme Taylor making his intentions clear from the start, taking the lead within seconds of the gun going off. Slotting in behind Taylor was previous Loop the Lake winner Adam Gausel and our dark horse pick Gary Melhuish in 3rd. Taylor, in recent 2h30 marathon form, flew up the Mt Robert road, extending his lead. But by the head of Lake Rotoiti Gausel was still within a minute or 2, with Melhuish remaining in 3rd. Down the eastern shores Graeme Taylor’s strength and speed showed as he extended his lead over Gausel and Melhuish holding onto 3rd. Taylor’s time of 1hr41.52 is one of the faster times run on the course, but still 3+mins off Phil Costley’s record.
The run of the day had to be women’s winner Fleur Lattimore. Lattimore, a multi sport athlete from Nelson, had her sights set on a fast time, running aggressively from the start, she kept the lads at the front of the pack on their toes, finishing 8th overall. She ripped out a smoking 1hr54mins! Only “Carline McDonald (Wellington) went quicker when she circuited the shores in 1.53.38 however that 2004 event started from the DOC Centre while the course now begins on the lake front.”- official word from Nelons Events. 2nd for the second year in a row was Klaartje van Schie in 2hr02, who ran away from Tania Cooper in the later stages of the race.
Chatting with Greg from Nelson Events post race he was wrapped with the day and the support the event received. The event didn’t sell out- a real rarity, but it had been increased from 300 to 400 entries and was the biggest start list that the Loop the Lake has ever had! No doubt trail running is growing.
Full results HERE
More Nelson Events info and races HERE